Mommy Week: pregnancy etiquette

Posted at 12:19 PM, May 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-06 12:19:00-04

     What’s the proper protocol when touching a pregnant woman’s belly?  Well, first off–you should ask.  You’d be surprised at just how many people do it without asking permission. conducted a survey to get moms’ opinions on the do’s and don’ts for interaction with mothers-to-be.  Lori Richmond, editor of joined Sukanya Krishnan and other PIX11 Morning News moms to take a pregnancy etiquette quiz.  Check it out.

1)      Is it okay to ask someone if they’re pregnant?


–          It’s definitely not ok to ask someone if they’re pregnant!

–          If someone is pregnant, they will share it with you if they want to

–          Even if you may have your suspicions, don’t ask because:

o   You could be wrong and basically just called her fat

o   You could be right and she doesn’t want to say anything yet because she is in her first trimester

§  She may have even miscarried in the past and might not want to say anything about this pregnancy until she’s further along

o   Maybe she just doesn’t feel like talking about the pregnancy – if you’re the 5th person who asked her that question, she might be sick of answering it

What to Say or Do in Response: Sarcastically say, “Thanks so much for pointing out that I have gained weight or am even more moodier than ever!”

2)      How many moms have had someone touch their bump without asking?

a.       24%

b.      55%

c.       86%

d.      97%

ANSWER: 86%.

–          86% of moms on said someone has touched their bump without asking.

–          We’re all guilty of the belly rub… it’s hard to resist. But hold back unless you ask the mom first.

–          Not only is it scary and weird when someone, whether it’s a stranger or even a relative, touches her, but a woman’s belly is private, and she may not want you reaching for it.

What to Say or Do in Response: As the hand moves in, cover your belly and jokingly say, “The little one’s bossy already, he likes his personal space.”

3)      What’s the worst thing you can say to a mother of twins?

a.       “Twins! You’ve got your work cut out for you!”

b.      “Wow, twins! Are they natural or did you take drugs?”

c.       “Wow, your husband has super sperm!”

ANSWER: b. “Wow, twins! Are they natural or did you take drugs?”

–          There are a lot of fertility drugs out there that have caused the multiples rate to soar.

–          But not all fertility treatments result in twins, and not all twins are the result of a medical intervention. So, you can wonder, but please don’t ask.

What to Say or Do in Response: “That’s really none of your business, we’re just happy to have double the joy.”

4)      How many moms have been asked, “Was your pregnancy planned or a surprise?” 

a.       9%

b.      27%

c.       78%

d.      91%


–          78% of moms on said they’ve been asked “was your pregnancy planned or a surprise?”

–          No matter what time of year (or of life) a pregnancy occurs, it’s never appropriate to ask about people’s birth control (or lack thereof) details.

What to Say or Do in Response: Smile and jokingly say, “Yes, we did plan to have sex that night!”


5)      True or False. It’s okay to share your own personal labor story with a pregnant woman?


–          Telling a pregnant woman, “I was in labor for 36 hours and I tore like you wouldn’t believe!” will only scare her!

–          It’s natural to want to share your own personal experiences and think it will offer some helpful advice, but she doesn’t want to hear the gory details.

What to Say or Do in Response: If the conversation gets too graphic, say in a mock grave voice, “You’ve seriously got to stop – I think my morning sickness is coming back.”

6)      Is it ok to ask someone what the baby’s name is going to be? Yes or No.


–          This is a seemingly harmless question and is one of the most hotly debated topics for parents-to-be.

–          Naming a child is one of the most personal things for parents and it’s hard enough to decide on a name without a committee chiming in.

–          Plus, parents may want to keep the name a secret in case someone ‘steals’ the name.

What to Say or Do in Response: “We’re keeping it a secret and if I decide to let it out I’ll be sure to tell you first!”

7)      What are the worst pregnancy faux pas?

a.       Saying “You’re pregnant? Better late than never!”

b.      Telling a pregnant woman, “Come on, just one drink!”

c.       Saying, “You’re so huge! I can’t believe you have two months left.”

d.      Asking, “Are you sure you want to have that second piece of cake?”


ANSWER: They’re all horrible pregnancy faux pas!

–          You’ve just insulted a mom twice if you act surprised to hear that she’s pregnant and then take a dig at her age!

–          No one likes a pusher so don’t urge a pregnant woman to drink

–          No  pregnant mom likes to be called huge ever

–          Pregnant moms also don’t like when people keep tabs on what they eat